If there is one thing cat owners are absolutely sure about when it comes to their fabulous felines is that cats throw up – a lot. There are many reasons cats vomit, but something strange is going when they throw up just the kibble and not the wet food.
When cats throw up dry food but not wet food, the primary reason is most likely food allergies, especially if the foods are from different brands. Commercial low-price, low-quality food can be another culprit, or your cat might be suffering from an illness.
With such a perplexing scenario and quite a few possible explanations, the best way to establish precisely why your cat can only stomach wet food is through a process of elimination, so let’s see why your cat is tossing the biscuits – or, more accurately, the kibble.
Cats Can Be Allergic to Dry Food Ingredients
We know that cats are very fussy about what they eat, but when they are selective about what they throw up, something fishy is going on.
Felines have very sensitive stomachs, which is why so many cats suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) issues. From vomiting to constipation, there is probably always something going on with their tummies.
Usually, when cats expel their food, no matter what they have eaten, it is a sure sign of an upset stomach – probably from eating some sort of bug during an outdoor excursion.
But since the wet food seems to stay down, but the dry food isn’t making the journey, your cat might be suffering from food allergies.
Food Allergies in Felines
The funny thing about food allergies in cats is that they can develop over time; one day, your feline would be happily chopping on his favorite food, and the next thing you know, you are cleaning up vomit after each feeding.
It would be challenging to pin down the offending ingredient, but the most common allergens are fish, beef, chicken, milk, and other dairy products.
It’s easy enough to remove the dairy – as it shouldn’t have been included in their diet first place – but the other proteins are a little trickier.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need meat to stay healthy. Feeding your feline a lower quality food might mean that they are not getting the proper amount of protein because the food probably has a lot of unhealthy fillers.
Premium quality food (usually the food bought from vets) uses only the best ingredients and the right amount of nutrients cats need to stay healthy.
Your cat is less likely to vomit from good quality food, but a chat with the vet can provide you with more insight into food intolerances in felines.
Accompanying Symptoms of Food Allergies in Cats
If you suspect your cat has developed food allergies, there are additional associated symptoms to look out for that can either confirm or disprove the theory:
- Your cat scratches a lot, especially around his face
- Excessive and constant grooming
- Visible signs of discomfort like twitching or irritability
- Hair loss (not seasonal shedding)
- Runny tummy
- Being more vocal than usual
How to Switch Your Cat to a New Food
If you need to switch the food due to allergies, do not do this abruptly, cats need a transition phase to adjust to the new food. The basics are straightforward; just remember to get the new cat food about nine days before the old food usually runs out.
- Day one to three is 20 % new food and 80 % old food
- Day four to six is equal measures of both
- Day seven to nine is 80 % new food and 20 % old food
But because of the allergies, the transition method might not work because your cat will still be ingesting the ingredients that make them vomit.
So, if your cat is still not tolerating the food after day four, you’ll have to let the vet know about this because there can be something more serious wrong with your cat.
Cats Prefer Wet and Warm Food
We’re not saying your cat is puking up the dry food as a not-so-subtle sign that they don’t care for it, but we’re also not, not saying it.
They’ll probably eat when they are hungry but decide it wasn’t all that great and unceremoniously deposit it right back on the carpet.
Another reason why wet food is more digestible to your cat is because of the moisture content. It is softer to ingest, and the tummy doesn’t have to work very hard to break it down. You can always just feed wet food if your budget allows it.
Cats are also known to regurgitate their food and eat it back up; it comes out whole, warm, and meat-smelling, and some cats just love it.
To avoid this rather unpleasant occurrence, try adding some lukewarm water to the kibble, let it come to room temperature, and then offer it to your cat (also perhaps the economical alternative to just feeding wet food).
Cats Throw Up When They Overeat
If your cat accidentally drops food in his water bowl, you’ll have noticed that dry kibble swells to more than double in size.
When cats are free-feeding, there is a big possibility that they are overeating at each trip to the food bowl; their stomachs may become overfull when the food swells, and they need to throw up to feel comfortable again.
Usually, when you offer wet food, there is more control over how much you feed your cat for breakfast or dinner; they can’t overeat and don’t need to throw up to feel better.
Dental issues can also contribute; many owners have noticed that their cats eat fast and swallow the kibble whole to avoid chewing due to inflamed gums or tender teeth.
In this case, they are eating too fast to get it over with and then throwing up because the rapid ingestion irritates their tummies.
Cats Throw Up When They Don’t Feel Well
If you’re still shaking your head, the only other thing that can be wrong is that your cat might be ill. The problem with this statement is that in many illnesses or conditions cats are prone to, has vomiting as one of the symptoms:
- Gastritis, acute and chronic
- Liver diseases
- Intestinal parasites
- Drugs and chemicals
- Toxins/poisoning/foreign objects
- Renal insufficiency
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
There is no way for you to be sure if your cat has any of these issues so, you’ll have to put the kitty in the carrier and take a trip to the vet.
They can run a couple of tests to see if your pet might be suffering from an illness and hopefully have a treatment plan available to take care of the vomiting.
Food intolerance is the most probable reason for these astonishing throw-up sessions; in this case, a change in diet is the way to go – remember to follow a scheduled transition period to replace the food.
It is best to be in control of how much your cat eats in 24 hours; if they are free-feeding, they might be overeating. Progress to a breakfast/dinner schedule and only feed them according to the instructions found on the back of the bag or tin.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.